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Engquist v. Oregon Department of Agriculture

553 U.S. 591 (2008)

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Engquist v. Oregon Department of Agriculture

United States Supreme Court

553 U.S. 591 (2008)

Facts

Anup Engquist (plaintiff) was an international food-service specialist for the Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) (defendant). Engquist had difficulty working with another ODA employee, Joseph Hyatt, and repeatedly complained to their supervisor, Norma Corristan, about Hyatt. Corristan responded by sending Hyatt to diversity and anger-management training. John Szczepanski, an assistant director of the ODA, had supervisory authority over Corristan, Hyatt, and Engquist. Szczepanski told a client that he was unable to control Engquist and that he was going to get rid of both Engquist and Corristan. Szczepanski then chose Hyatt for a managerial position despite Engquist’s superior qualifications for the job. Shortly thereafter, Szczepanski eliminated Corristan’s position during a round of budget cuts and then eliminated Engquist’s role as part of a reorganization. Engquist sued the ODA, alleging violations of various state and federal employment laws. Engquist also brought what was known as a class-of-one equal-protection claim, alleging that she was discharged not because she was a member of a particular class but instead for arbitrary, vindictive, and malicious reasons. The jury returned a verdict in favor of Engquist on the class-of-one claim. The appellate court reversed, and Engquist appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Roberts, C.J.)

Dissent (Stevens, J.)

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